Despite Promises from City Officials, Documents Reveal Close Relationship Between ICE and the Boston Police Department

According to reporting from WBUR News, the Boston Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have a much closer—and much more disturbing—relationship than has previously been disclosed. New documents obtained by WBUR News show that a high-ranking Boston police officer is working directly with ICE, helping the agency pursue detainers and carry forward deportation operations against immigrants who have only been accused with non-felony, non-violent offenses. 

Boston Police Helped ICE Pursue Immigrants Charged With Minor Offenses

Similar to many other major cities across the country, Boston has made a commitment to protecting immigrants. Indeed, in response to the Trump Administration’s harsh rhetoric, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has publicly stated that the city police department will limit its cooperation with ICE—only helping the agency pursue action against immigration charged with violent offenses. 

However, new evidence calls these promises into question. WBUR News has obtained more than 800 pages of communications between ICE and Boston Police Sergeant Gregory Gallagher. Until this week, Mr. Gallagher was the Boston Police Department’s sole ICE Liaison. In the documents, Mr. Gallagher gives the names, addresses, and other sensitive personal information of Boston immigrants who were charged with non-felony, non-violent offenses directly to ICE. He helps that agency purse enforcement action against Boston immigrants charged with minor offenses, such as driving without a valid license.  

Disturbingly, Mr. Gallagher even received an ICE detainer for a Boston immigrant attached with the message “Happy hunting”. In response to the release of this report, Massachusetts ACLU lawyer Laura Rótolo noted that the documents published “directly contradict” public statements and promises by public officials who have stated that Boston police officers will not act as federal immigration agents. 

Officer Removed, Mayor Walsh Says the Relationship is Under Review

Following the publishing of the WBUR News report, there has been some action by the Boston Police Department and other city government officials. To start, Mr. Gallager has been stripped from his role as the ICE liaison for the Boston Police Department. In addition, Mayor Walsh has indicated that his office will be investigating and reviewing the relationship between ICE and Boston Police. 

Mayor Walsh acknowledged that the documents obtained raise some questions and he reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that the city’s police department will only cooperate with ICE in certain circumstances. While these are certainly important statements by Mayor Walsh, it is also clear that more needs to be done to ensure that our city’s law enforcement officers are protecting every member of the community, regardless of their immigration status. 

Speak to Our Boston Immigration Attorney Right Away

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our Massachusetts immigration lawyer is a strong, skilled advocate for immigrant rights. If you or someone you know needs legal help, please call our Boston office at (617) 722-0005 to get a confidential consultation. We represent clients in Boston and throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.